New Honda Owner

Hi I'm new to the world of Honda, I've been working with 70's and 80's trucks for about 5 years. I was wondering what are some good ways to make my 97 Accord LX faster and more powerful. I want to stick with
only mechanical options, nothing fancy on the outside, maybe pipes. Any ideas would be very helpful. Thanks
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Hillbeilly wrote:

i'm confused, something must be wrong with this picture. you bought a dependable japanese economy sedan and now you want it to drive like it's got a big block v8? the logic circuits must be crossed. if you wanted raw power there were other options available, like a different vehicle...
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Lol! I'm not thinking of trying to turn a straight-4 into a V8, I just want to know some ideas to add some power to my honda, nothing impressive, and i don't want cosmetics, lowering, spoiler, just some more horses under the hood, and I dealt more with torque on those trucks. Thanks
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Hillbeilly wrote:

some people on this newsgroup recommend Honda Tuning Magazine for performance tuning ideas. you could wind up spending a lot of money reengineering your car or you can just accept it for what it is.
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Why not try a Nitrous System from Manchester Honda (1 800 489-9631)if you're serious about wanting more power. I have purchased numerous parts from these guys for the past five years and am super pleased. Good Luck.
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You might find some tips at this forum, in the Technical Garage section:
http://www.accordinglydone.com/forum /
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and 80's

ways to

with
pipes. Any

Basic mods that almost everyone does are intake and exhaust. Even a cheap 15 dollar replacement intake will give you more power at high rpm's. It allows the engine to get more air when it needs it. Otherwise you'll be depending on the stock air filter box which is very constrictive - designed for low to mid rpm's. At high RPM's, the engine can't get enough air to combust the larger amount of fuel. Adding an intake will give your engine a more throaty sound.
Performance exhaust systems reduce back pressure. I've always been sketchy on exactly how much power this actually increases with a stock engine.
Some people gut the catalytic converter. All you have to do is take off the catalytic converter and remove the insides and put it back on. This is illegal, but it reduces back pressure and adds horsepower. Inspectors can't tell by looking at it (which they usually do is a quick glance).
Don't forget the muffler. High flow. I reccomend Burns Stainless. A bit expensive sometimes. Also a performance header will benefit you somewhat. This also reduces back-pressure.
Performance chips. You can probably get cheap Mugen rip-off's on ebay. I'm not sure how well these work. I'll leave this one to the group. :|
Intake manifold. An aftermarket OBX intake manifold can be had for cheap. More airflow, and better looking, too :> Cheap horsepower.
Throttle body. Bigger throttle body = more air. Possibly a bad idea if you don't have the air to supply, but the concept holds true.
Flywheel. If you've got a manual transmission and you want quicker RPM's, get a lightened chromoly flywheel. The flywheel helps maintain engine inertia by its weight. It's good for fuel economy to have a heavier flywheel, I guess, but it's more weight that the engine needs to turn. Get a lighter flywheel and the crank can spin up more quickly. Some flywheels are nearly half the stock weight, which basically equates to nearly half the spin-up time.
Light-weight wheels. There's tons of these on the market. Less weight for the engine to spin. Put more of your torque power on the pavement. Low profile tires help, too.
Carbon fiber parts. The great thing that hondas have going for them is the power/weight ratio. They are light cars. That's less weight that the engine has to pull. Get a carbon fiber hood to make it even lighter. I even went as far as completely gutting my interior on my crx and doing some of my own fiberglass fabrication.
Ignition. Everyone preaches the MSD performance ignition. It provides more power for your spark plugs. Personally I think the difference is negligable as far as power is concerned. You'll pay a pretty penny for this one. Anywhere from 200 and up. Is it worth it? Anyone else want to comment on this?
Underdrive pulley. You can get a specialty crank pulley that underdrives all the accessories but still allows them to function normally, thus reducing the resistance to the crank movement and yeilding more power.
Cams. Buy some replacement cams for some basic tuned air intake and exhaust lift/timing. There are many specialized cams that provide different effects, depending on your engine config.
Lightweight cam gear. Reduces turning weight. Simple enough. Some are adjustable to allow you to advance or retard your timing.
Body kit. Sure it's flashy, but some body kits provide better aerodynamic characteristics and reduce overall weight.
Valvetrain. The main thing that prevents you from revving beyond the redline is your valvetrain (besides the ECU revlimiter). Building up the valvetrain with high-quality forged valves, springs, and titanium retainers will give it much more strength and allow you to safely rev higher, perhaps up into the 10k to 12k RPM range.
Send your head to a competant machinist to have him port and polish it. Basically, he will shape the ports to flow better and more easily. This is "porting." Stock castings are rather rough and have slight resistance to the incoming air. The "polishing" removes a lot of this roughness and allows air to move more readily into the cylinders (or out into the header). Also, if you have your head ported make sure you send along your intake manifold to have the manifold ports matched to the head ports.
Crankshaft knife-edging. The counterweights on the crankshaft aren't very aerodynamic, and they smack into the oil reserve as the crank turns. Knife-edging, as done by an experienced machinist, involves grinding these counterweights to a knife edge to make them more aerodynamic, and allows them to cut through the oil reserve rather than smacking into it, yeilding less resistance, less power loss, quicker revs. If you have this done, make sure your crank is balanced by a machinist afterwards.
Turbocharging. If you want to add a few pounds of boost you can get a cheap, bolt-on turbo kit. You don't necessarily need to modify the block internals if you have relatively low milage. Do not turbocharge if you're running high compression, as you experience detonation. High octane fuel and low compression is needed to prevent detonation. For small amounts of boost (below 7 psi) you should get a block guard. Anything higher and you should get your block resleeved with ductile iron sleeves. This is necessary because of honda's open deck, with thin cylinder walls. The entire block is not made of iron. It's actually aluminum with iron sleeves in the cylinders. The stock sleeves are somewhat thin and do not have enough contact with the block to support high pressures and heat. Aftermarket sleeves provide more thickness and contact with the block. The block guard converts your open deck into a semi-closed deck, builds strength in the walls and helps prevent the cylinders from moving. It's still not enough for high boost.
If you want 10 to 20 pounds of boost, you'll need some serious cash. Plan on investing in re-sleeving your block with thicker ductile iron sleeves (ie. Darton, Golden Eagle, etc..), and other high-quality, high-dollar parts, like forged pistons, forged rods, bearings, lubrication system, coolant system, fuel system and possibly a forged crank, specialty gaskets, engine management system (neptune, hondata) and professional dyno tuning. In short, high boost is for the rich kids.
Even if you're not turbocharging, replacement pistons could prove beneficial in many ways. First off, there are many aftermarket pistons to suit almost any need. In your position, if you're not going for high boost (I wouldn't), get some light weight forged pistons and ligh weight forged rods. While you're at it, you may as well get some superior rings that reduce blowby.
Nitrous. DON'T DO IT. Nitrous is basically oxygen enrichment and allows you to burn more fuel. Nitrous requires a rich air fuel mixture, like turbos, and burns VERY hot. Opt for low compression, high octane. You're risking a lot, like burning a hole straight thru your block if anything, not to mention detonation or cracking your cylinders. My friend was running a small shot of NOS on his B16, running rich with a perfect setup. It wasn't long before it detonated. The piston he brought me looked like a pancake. NOS is safe for some people and not for others. I wouldn't risk it unless you're willing to lose your engine. Building a proper NOS system will require many mods that you would need for a turbocharged system anyways, so you may as well opt for a turbo.
"Turbo kit. $3500. Engine mods. $6500. Wishing you'd paid a little extra for a knock sensor after you lose everything. Priceless."
That's all I can think of right now. I'm tired and just blah. Anyone feel free to add to this list, scrutinize it, correct my spelling (spelling nazi's suck) or whatever. Overall, my two favorite mods are the flywheel and intake. They're a good place to start.
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Be aware that in the '97 (and in any OBDII cars, which are all new cars sold in the US starting January 1996 and a few before that) destroying the catalyst will permanently turn on the "check engine" light due to "low catalyst efficiency." In addition, you will fail any emission inspection that meets present EPA standards (IM240, IIRC) if you are in the US.
Mike
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